Keeping it in the family

Some families go on picnics or to the movies to bond. The Cloud family, however, plays rock concerts.

Mark Cloud, the lead guitarist in Temecula-based rock band Guilty Conscience finds playing music strengthens his family ties. His fiancée plays keyboards, and his son plays the sax. “It’s something we all love, and something we’re all lucky enough to do together,” he said. “It’s a bonding experience.”

Having a family bond benefits not only the Clouds, but it improves the quality of the band. “It [affects] us, in terms of performance,” said Cloud. “I think the bond we have as family helps us on-stage. People always say that we really look like we’re having fun.”

Though Guilty Conscience officially started in April of 2006, the roots of the band are much older. Cloud and bassist Bill Carrigan have been playing together for more than 30 years.

“We’re very close and we get on each other’s nerves from time to time,” said Cloud. “We’re just like brothers.”

Cloud and Carrigan played in ‘70s rock band Common Ground, and released five albums before throwing in the towel.

For Paula Arlich, Cloud’s fiancée, Guilty Conscience departs from her previous music projects radically. She has played piano for numerous local plays, but the closest thing she got to a rock band was a mellow Christian band that performed infrequently.

“This is like a dream come true,” she said. She had been wanting to perform more often and branch out into other music genres. “Guilty Conscience is the best of both worlds,” she said.

Mark Cloud’s son Jaren enjoys the opportunity to visit with his father. “I probably wouldn’t visit him as often if it weren’t for the band,” he said. “A big part of being in a band is the relationship with other members. There’s a good relationship between all the members of Guilty Conscience.”

Guilty Conscience covers a wide variety of music genres, mostly because of the generation gaps between the members. The youngest member is 16, the oldest is 52.

“Some of the music is admittedly not my favorite,” said Jaren, 17. His favorite band is the Dave Matthews band.

However, the elder Cloud believes the band benefits from the band’s age range. “The young people in the band, they give it energy. Us older guys put a little polish on it,” he said.

Many of the other members come from a performing arts background. “I was a fan of Sarah [Oddi, lead singer] before I ever knew who she was,” said Cloud. He first saw her playing the part of Dorothy in a production of the “Wizard of Oz.”

“For my money, she out-did Judy Garland.”

Guilty Conscience plays at mostly up-scale venues, such as Pechanga and Cahuilla casinos and at the Temecula wineries. This may change in the future.

“We want to take this as far as we can. Right now we are moving up into larger venues,” said Mark Cloud. “In the future we hope to take our act on the road and record a CD of original material.”

In this respect, the band will be following in the shadow of Arlich. She has already released a CD called A Ray of Hope from Guilty Conscience’s own label, Uncommonly Round Records. It is available in stores across America.

For booking and dates for upcoming Guilty Conscience performances visit www.uncommonlyround.com.

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